Sam Keck Scott is a freelance writer of both fiction and nonfiction. He is a regularly featured author and photographer for the National Geographic Society, a Writing By Writers Fellow, and is the co-author of the children’s book, Sip the Straw. Sam’s work has won the John Gardner Memorial Prize in Fiction; been a finalist in the Machigonne Story Contest; earned honorable mention in Glimmer Train; and has appeared in Camas Magazine, Harpur Palate, The New Guard Literary Review, The Earth First! Journal, and is forthcoming in Orion. In addition to writing, Sam is a terrestrial and marine biologist, a conservationist, and an avid adventurer. When not living out of his truck or a hotel room for work — or exploring some far-flung land or sea — he lives in his Airstream trailer in rural Sonoma County, in Northern California. Sam is currently pursuing his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University.

"The Red Sea runs like a long blue finger separating Africa from the Middle East. A fleshless finger, bony and thin; or perhaps the shed exoskeleton of some desert insect, its northern antennae made of two gulfs: the Aqaba and the Suez. The six countries that border it are some of the hottest in the world — Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti — the names alone carry with them images of yellow sand quivering beneath the glare of a white sun. But I can assure you, the sun was not white, and the sand was not yellow.

In July 2010 a haboob was blowing east off the Sahara; a dust storm of atmospheric proportion. It covered us in a red dust as fine as flour. The entire ship was coated in it, turning our off-white sails a firebrick red. The dust filled our galley drawers, covered the compass on the helm stand, and left a thin red film on the bilge water. Our bodies were covered with it as well; our hair was red, our sweat ran red, the red dust was between our teeth and in the corners of our eyes. The sky became a hazy apocalypse and the sun glowed a photochemical orange, so dimmed by the particulates in the air that we could stare right at it."

Excerpt from Apocalyptic Skies, Junkyard Sharks, Forgotten Spaceships, New Friends — Four Tales of the Red Sea